I honestly think most “stop being jealous” advice gets off on being vague, packed with obstacles, and really complicated to follow through on. It’s almost as if it was written by someone who has never struggled with jealousy in their life. So, here is my advice from someone who has been rock-bottom jealous and come out on the other side.
I was a jealous girlfriend. Extremely jealous. I would Google “How to stop being jealous” in hopes of finding some answers but let’s be honest… this is what the advice on Google sounds like:
“Have a look at your insecurities and then fix them”
“Don’t overthink so much, just let it go”
“Be honest with your partner, tell them all the things”
Gee, thanks. That was 0,1% helpful.
Now that I’m out on the other side and no longer consider myself a jealous girlfriend, I can see how that advice makes sense in a way. The same way giving the advice “just stop” to a heavy smoker makes sense once they have stopped, because well… you do have to just stop. But it does little to help you get there.
So, here’s my attempt at giving some actual helpful advice if you’re struggling with jealousy in your relationship right now. I’ll do my best to summarize the many hours of coaching that I do with my clients into one little list. Let’s go!
1. Jealousy is a feeling, not an identity
On any given day or week, you feel a wide variety of emotions. Happy, sad, anxious, jealous, excited, surprised, bored, nervous, relaxed, stressed… the list goes on. But I don’t recall hearing girlfriends ever describing themselves as bored girlfriends. Or surprised girlfriends. Because that emotion, no matter how frequent, comes and goes and doesn’t define them.
Sure, we like generalizing and labeling ourselves and others. But I want you to understand that labeling yourself as a “jealous girlfriend” is optional. No matter how often you feel jealousy in your body.
As I mentioned above, I no longer identify as a jealous girlfriend. But that doesn’t mean I never have the feeling of jealousy inside my body. I do! It just doesn’t overpower or define me anymore.
Will changing how you label yourself remove jealousy from your body and fix all your problems? If it did, I would be making a lot more money right now. Sadly, it won’t. But this post is about girlfriend hacks and I promise you, as someone who has gone through the journey, this is literally a hack.
You get to decide that you are no longer a “jealous girlfriend”. Because that doesn’t mean that you never feel jealousy, it just means that it’s not how you identify yourself anymore. And this is where step 2 comes in.
2. Get good at feeling jealous
Most of the advice on Google is centered around getting rid of the jealousy, distracting yourself from the jealousy, or (worst of all) getting your partner to help soothe your jealousy.
My advice is the complete opposite.
I want you to become a pro at feeling jealousy. I want you to get so good at it that you can do it successfully without any drama whatsoever. Here’s why:
Jealousy is a feeling, as we determined in step 1. Feelings are vibrations, energy flowing through our bodies and they are created by sentences in our minds. The evolutionary purpose of feelings is to drive actions and behaviors. So when you feel a certain way, that is meant to make you act/behave accordingly. I’m sure you have your own set of behaviors that you engage in when you’re jealous. We all do.
Once you have stopped identifying yourself as a jealous girlfriend, the next step is to stop acting out your jealousy. Time to remove your emotional expression of jealousy from the world. No more stalking, texting, snapping, withdrawing, grumping when jealous.
This is not done by distracting yourself, bottling up how you feel, and using willpower to not act. This is done through feeling jealousy in your body without acting on it and obeying it.
Here’s what will happen:
- You remove your jealous girlfriend identity
- You remove your jealous girlfriend behaviors
After you’ve done that, the only thing left of your jealousy is the sentences in your mind and the vibration in your body.
As you get better and better at feeling jealousy rather than trying to make it go away, you’ll gain more and more control over your behaviors and with time, the frequency and intensity of your jealousy will significantly decrease.
Why does this work?
Here’s some brain-talk for all you left-brainers out there who love the logic:
Because you have trained your brain to react with jealousy to certain triggers. The jealousy fuels the actions that your primitive brain thinks you need to engage in to stay safe. As long as you act on your jealousy and obey the feeling, your brain will keep getting fed the information that this feeling and these behaviors are necessary.
This works the same way Pavlov’s dogs were conditioned to drool at the sound of a bell and then were rewarded with food. The trigger is the bell, your jealousy is the drool, and the behaviors that you engage in act as the reward.
When you stop engaging in the behaviors and just process the jealousy (let the drool drip without giving the dogs food), eventually the brain will realize that this reaction/feeling isn’t necessary anymore. You have stopped rewarding it. And then the jealousy will decrease (the drool will stop).
3. Work with a coach
I know all of this information can feel overwhelming and challenging to put into practice. The truth is that the absolute quickest way to change your thoughts and feelings and become the girlfriend you want to be is by working with a coach who specializes in the problems you struggle with.
I work with grumpy, jealous, insecure girlfriends who want to make these changes. They get personalized, hands-on support from me each week in order to make progress and get the results they want. You can of course do it on your own, but hiring a coach to help you definitely is a girlfriend hack that is worth the investment many times over.
Not being a jealous girlfriend anymore does not mean that you never feel jealousy in your body. It just means that you have learned how to process it, manage your reactions to it, and stopped identifying yourself with a vibration in your body that pops up every now and then.
And the best part? None of this requires that you fix all of your insecurities, that you magically become a pro at self-love, or that you involve your partner in the process. This solution happens inside of your brain and body. You are in full control over it and you don’t have to jump through any vague rings of fire in order to get there.